One Last Step (part 2) - Reunited...
Feelings are not supposed to be logical. Dangerous is the man who has rationalized his emotions...
The lone rider fled towards the dark confines of the forest, the Orc, momentarily distracted in the throes of the attack, had no notion that she had disappeared. Until they could no longer find her remains.
With outlandish roars into the darkening twilight, they gave chase.
The night was dark; the moon's soft light waved in and out of tall limbed trees and dense canopy, which shifted and groaned slightly in the wind; he shifted his weight onto the other leg.
The night was warm; the air, rancid and foul with the dank smells of rotting meat and foul Orc. The young man stiffened; kneeling at the base of a great tree, the sounds of the forest falling upon his sensitive ears. To him the night, in all its silence was alive. To him it could have been day or night and he still saw as clear as if the sun was shinning unhindered upon the ground.
Through his dark grey eyes, every blade of grass was clear, every whisper did not go unheard and every smell was a sharp as if up close. He wrinkled his nose, momentarily as a pocket of particularly stagnant air met his nose. He was wary after travelling this long; his thin body aching and weary after too many nights without food or shelter, he had already had to notch the belt on his breeches another two holes and tie the leather jerkin tighter around him. It was as if the cloak he wore was the only thing that kept him alive enough to place one foot in front of the other. He had been ambushed a while back, and still bore the wounds on his back, legs and side had, had no time to heal in his escape and so without the proper treatment, had become infected, great, and weeping sores.
Both sets of long tapered fingers on each hand-more suited to the arts of writing, playing and reading were scratched, calloused and bruised, tightly clutched the hilt of a silver sword and bow. Of which the blade rested, tensely against his bent leg. His head, of previously long brown hair had been shorn, leaving short itchy bristles. His face once full of peace and joy was now pitted by mars of age and toil. Scratches and scars adorned sallow, hollow cheeks. Grey bags of weariness etched deep under his eyes, and the rough unkempt beard only added to emphasise his haggard appearance. He cursed his foolishness, no haste should have made him take no notice of anything so starkly outlined in the harsh surroundings; and so he had so he had paid a heavy price. He had missed the signs that he was being followed, he missed the sign that he had been in any danger, until it was too late. He had lost his only friend. That loss still bore heavy on his very soul and he doubted that it would abate any time soon.
Looking upwards suddenly as an Owl took to the sky, the young man had to force himself to relax slightly.
It was then he heard her, horse thundering in the distance. He knew the rider was female for it was she, he was waiting for. He also heard the Orc that were chasing her and his blood boiled. Their crude language, foul on the air; made his ears burn. He heard her dismount, reliving the horse of saddle, bridle and pack - following the path that lead to him.
The Orc slowed, unable to find their prey; he tenses before he heard their slow heavy-footsteps taper off in another direction. The female human urged herself onwards, often stumbling- never falling, the bundle she held was too precious. But by the catch in her voice, he knew that she would not be able to go on.
He leapt up, quietly, bringing his sword with him. Quietly he crept closer to her, his breath light.
He heard her stumbling footsteps and haggard breath near him suddenly and leapt aside, sheathing his sword silently, and as silently he blessed his father's blade. He saw her stop suddenly; knowing she knew he was there. Now was the time to strike.
[...hem - cliffie ]